He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy Holy-Day

        Holidays are wonderful!  There are all kinds: summer vacations, New Year’s, Easter, Thanksgiving and many others that we celebrate all year long.  Our “holidays” may find us at the ocean relaxing in the warm sunshine while wriggling our toes in the hot sand.  We may choose to visit other countries, or National and State parks to enjoy nature’s bounty.  Or we may choose to visit monuments, cities, or even choose to stay in a quiet cabin in the country.  Whatever our desire when we want to get “away” we choose to take a “holiday.”

There is much discussion in politics and between friends and neighbors about the use of “Happy Holiday” verses the familiar “Merry Christmas!”  Let me begin by saying I prefer Merry Christmas, but was calmed when I understood that “holiday” actually can mean “holy-day.” Now that said, it doesn’t necessarily have that definition anymore.  In fact, as the word has changed over the years, it has acquired a much more secular meaning.

Because of the way we look at what a holiday is in our world today, it’s hard to connect the idea of a sacred “Holy Day” --- Christmas --- by simply saying “holiday.”  The word holiday holds no sacred meaning, given the way we use it.  This is likely why so many people are outraged that while Happy Holidays is somehow politically correct, the term “Merry Christmas” carries the connotation of sacredness, which is important to Believers!

            Originally the word had more to do with a religious festival or a hallowed day.  Now the word has more to do with a “free day” off from work or school because it’s a federally designated day.  People today, usually don’t even equate “holiday” with the original “holy-day” meaning at all.  For the business world it’s another “big money day” while for shoppers it’s usually a discount day!  We’ve even created a day called “Black Friday” because following the day after Thanksgiving, it’s become the biggest shopping day of the year!

            So we come to an impasse.  We have holiday stamps and wrapping paper.  There are holiday greetings and celebrations. And we have been instructed to say “Happy Holidays” rather than Merry Christmas so we don’t offend anyone; staying “politically correct!”

            Does it matter to my faith that we say, Happy Holidays?  It does only in the sense that I am being singled out as a Believer, implying that my faith doesn’t matter, because someone else is offended by the term.  Yet we can say Happy Kwanza or Happy Hanukkah.  Yet to say Merry Christmas is unacceptable. 

            I love Christmas!  It’s the most “wonderful time of year!”  It’s a time when people seem to put most of the prejudices aside and are collectively kind and caring for each other.  I love the music, the magic, decorations, movies, snow (yes, I love having snow this time of year!), gift giving (getting is fun too!) and the general time of love.

            So I encourage you to look beyond the expression of Happy Holidays, say Merry Christmas when you can, and share the wonder of Christmas with everyone you see.  When you do, it truly is magical, as we celebrate this special Holy Day!